Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi (Hezarfen means “a thousand sciences” polymath) was a legendary Ottoman aviator of Istanbul, who was the first man ever flown. In 1630 he flew from Galata Tower to Doğancılar Square in Üsküdar over bosphorous. The distance between Galata Tower and Doğancılar is 3.5 km, and height of Galata Tower is 97.6m above sea , Doğancılar Square height is 12m above sea.
After his successful attempt, Sultan Murad IV granted him a sack of golden coins, but Sultan assistants found Hezarfen as dangerous man due to his intelligence and Sultan sent him exile to Algeria and Hezarfen died over there.
The 17th century writings of Evliyâ Çelebi relate this story of Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi, circa 1630–1632: “ First, he practiced by flying over the pulpit of Okmeydanı eight or nine times with eagle wings, using the force of the wind. Then, as Sultan Murad Khan (Murad IV) was watching from the Sinan Pasha mansion at Sarayburnu, he flew from the very top of the Galata Tower and landed in the Doğancılar Square in Üsküdar, with the help of the south-west wind. Then Murad Khan granted him a sack of golden coins, and said: “This is a scary man. He is capable of doing anything he wishes. It is not right to keep such people,” and thus sent him to Algeria on exile. He died there.”
“Istanbul Beneath My Wings” (İstanbul Kanatlarımın Altında) film released in 1996 based on lifes of Hezârfen Ahmet Çelebi, and his brother rocket aviator Lagari Hasan Çelebi, and Ottoman society in the early 17th century, as witnessed and narrated by Evliyâ Çelebi.
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